The Mother of All Hearings

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The Copyright Board’s hearing dealing with performing and reproduction rights in songs and sound recordings in Canada by commercial radio stations kicks off in Ottawa Dec. 2 .

The Canadian Assn. of Broadcasters is at bat first at the two week hearing. Afterwards, SOCAN (performing rights in songs), CMRRA-SODRAC Inc., (reproduction rights in songs), AVLA-SOPROQ (reproduction rights in recordings) and NRCC and ARTISTI (performing rights in recordings) will each have their turn at the plate.

This “Super Hearing” is a landmark. It is the first time Canadian-based music labels have sought broadcast mechanicals from broadcasters, making it one of most important proceeding ever for broadcasters, record labels, music publishers, songwriters, and artists alike.

While this is the first time the federal Board has consolidated all radio-related tariffs into a single proceeding, the individual tariffs filed by the collectives are what is being considered, and the result will be a series of decisions, certifying each individual tariff on terms to be set by the Board.

The individual tariffs, and the businesses of the collectives, have not, however, been merged, and each collective is being separately represented at the hearing.

What’s really new is that all the radio-related tariffs are being heard at once, and that these individual decisions could hand or deny music creators millions of dollars in royalties as well as re-set jurisdiction over music royalty matters in Canada.

Certainly, American rights holders will be eyeballing these proceedings, particularly those record labels and artists who supported the Performance Rights Act that got to a congressional hearing, and a markup at a subcommittee level last year but got stopped.

The cornerstone of the CAB argument will be the “We Already Pay Performing Rights Fees To SOCAN Strategy,” that music is a single economic entity and should be valued as such.

Oh, yeah, and the "Times Are Tough For Broadcasters" (C) warhorse strategy will likely emerge as well.


Larry LeBlanc has been a leading figure in Canadian music for four decades.

He has been a regular music commentator on CTV’s “Canada A.M” for 35 years, and has been featured on numerous CBC-TV, CTV, YTV, Bravo! MuchMusic, MusiMax, and Newsworld programs in Canada; VH-1, and EEntertainment in the U.S.; and BBC in the U.K.

Larry writes a weekly column “In The Hot Seat” for CelebrityAccess and their online ezine Encore in the U.S. He was a co-founder of the late Canadian music trade, The Record; and, until 2007, the Canadian bureau chief of Billboard for 16 years.

He has been quoted on music industry issues in hundreds of publications including Time, Forbes, the London Times, and the New York Times.

He has acted as a consultant for Heritage Canada, The Canadian Competition Bureau, The Canadian Assn. of Broadcasters, The Canadian Private Copying Collective, and the Neighbouring Rights Collective of Canada as well as such Canadian media group as Astral Media, CHUM Radio, Rogers Communications, The Evanov Group, and Harvard Broadcasting.

He serves on the board as a director of the Ontario Council of Folk Festivals.

The LeBlanc Newsletter is exclusively carried and archived by Canadian Music Week in Canada at:

it is available In the U.S. at CelebrityAccess at their online ezine Encore:

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